Music and sound effects are key to having a great gaming experience. Having the right pair of gaming headphones will help you enhance that experience with a good sound, a comfortable design, and a reliable microphone. This means gaming headsets are a little more specialized than typical headphones. They usually have more dedicated software support, lots of active features and customization options, as well as a better mic. However, they're also bulkier and not ideal to use outdoors and are often limited by the range of their transmitter. Furthermore, if you do not care about microphones, then most wired, critical listening headphones would be a good option.
So far, we've reviewed 27 gaming headphones and below are our recommendations for the best ones to buy in the summer of 2018.
The best gaming headset is the SteelSeries Arctis 7. These headphones deliver the best value for your money for any gaming headphone that we've tested so far. They're a well build and decently comfortable headset with a lot of customization and connection options that make them versatile enough for gaming, watching movies and even using them with your phone outdoors. They have a low latency wireless connection with a dongle that has an aux input so it will work with most of the audio sources in your house and even with your TV. They also come with a proprietary audio cable that ends with a 1/8trs connector so you can use them casually with your phone outdoors.
Unfortunately, they are not the most console-friendly gaming headset since they only have wireless audio and voice chat support on the PS4 and PC but not the Xbox One. They're also a bit bulkier than the HyperX Cloud Flight which are slightly better for outdoor use but have fewer customization options.
If you're looking for a versatile gaming headset with great features and options, then the Arctis 7 are a great choice.
If you want a better-sounding and more comfortable alternative to the SteelSeries Arctis 7, and you mostly use your gaming headphones at home, then get the Astro A50 instead. Unlike, the Arctis 7 or the HyperX Cloud Flight, they do not have an outdoor friendly design since you have to use the base station and they do not come with an audio cable or have a wired option to use with console controllers. On the upside, thanks to their base station they get access to more connection options than the Arctis 7 and the Logitech G933, like optical in and out as well as an aux and USB input. The base station also supports dock charging which is a bit more practical when charging your gaming headphones. If you primarily use your headphones just for gaming or need a good headset for watching movies, then the Astro A50s are a good choice.
If you mostly game on PC and have different setups for each game you play, then the Logitech G933 would be a better option than the Astro A50s. They do not have as many connection options as the A50s and they also have a bulkier design that won't be as good for outdoor as the SteelSeries Arctis 7 or the HyperX Cloud Flight. However, they do have a well-made gaming design that looks better and more premium than the other Logitech G series headphones that we've tested so far. They have programmable buttons on the back of the left earcup which allows you to switch between different profiles, EQs and LED settings. You can also map and configure these buttons to your liking via the Logitech gaming software. Overall, if you like to tweak your headsets, then the G933 are a good gaming headset with a good sound quality that will cater well to all games and most of your music.
If the SteelSeries Arctis 7 are too expensive, the best budget gaming headphones we've tested so far are the HyperX Cloud II. They do not have as many features as the Logitech G933 or the SteelSeries Arctis 7. They're also wired so they may not be as convenient when gaming on your couch as the wireless options on this list.
However, the Cloud II more than make up for it with their affordable price to performance ratio, great build quality and comfortable, well-padded earcups. They feel sturdy and durable and come with an excellent boom mic that reproduces your voice accurately when playing multiplayer games. Also since the mic is detachable, they easily pass for casual headphones that you can use outdoors with your mobile devices.
If you want a gaming headphone and do not care much for a wireless design, then the Cloud II are your best option.
If you just want a cheap gaming headset that still offers a decent value for its budget price, then get the Logitech G430. They won't be as well built and durable as the HyperX Cloud II and do not have an outdoor friendly design that you can use casually with your phone. They're also a bit less comfortable. On the upside, for their price, they have a decent performance in most categories that make a good gaming headset. They have a great mic, a low latency wired connection and they have access to the Logitech gaming software which gives them a few more customization options than the similarly priced HyperX Cloud Stinger. If you don't mind the slightly cheap looking build quality, then the Logitech are a good budget option for gaming. However, if you have the budget we would recommend going for the Logitech G433 or the G Pro instead since they perform better overall and are a lot more versatile.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming headphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper headphone wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for headphones that are good for gaming. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you do not care about having a microphone or wireless features.